Fulham march on as Zamora shines


Zamora 1

Fulham stormed into the final four of the Europa League thanks to Bobby Zamora’s 19th of the season. The target man needed just 22 seconds to fire past Diego Benaglio, collecting Zoltan Gera’s pass before turning neatly and firing into the bottom corner.

Roy Hodgson’s men who dumped Italian giants Juventus out of the competition in the last round kept their discipline to produce a solid performance and almost doubled their lead after eight minutes when Damien Duff’s cross picked out Gera but his header was pushed wide by Benaglio. The Bundesliga champions Wolfsburg did threaten as Fulham sat back absorbing pressure before breaking, which allowed the home side to push forward. Brazilian forward Grafite had the ball in the net after a quarter of an hour before seeing the flag raised for offside. Duff raced forward moments later before reaching the byline and pulling back to skipper Danny Murphy but his low drive was easily saved. Wolfsburg’s highly rated forward top scorer Edin Dzeko struggled to shine against a the resilient Fulham and looked second best to Zamora. With the visitors holding on as the break approached, the German giants brought on forward Ashkan Dejagah after just a third of the game played. The change saw the Germans push forward and almost fire level when Zvjezdan Misimovic clipped the ball into the far post with Gentner only just failing to poke the ball into the net.

Into the second half Zamora almost scored his 20th of the season when Danny Murphy clipped the ball over the top of the back four. A poor first from the front man saw the ball run away from him his shot well saved from the advancing Benaglio. The cottagers grew in confidence as the game closed, with the Germans finishing the game with four attackers as ex Newcastle hit man Obafemi Martins was introduced. The Nigerian, who has had an indifferent debut season, never really looked a threat to the Londoners. The ball was in the back of the net after 78 minutes when Zamora headed home but the flag was raised, denying what would have been the nail in the coffin for home side. Minutes later captain Murphy looked to have sealed a goal after collecting Paul Konchesky’s cross, beating the keeper only to see his effort blocked on the line. At the other end, Dzeko seemed to be brought to life in the dying stages. His left foot strike beat Mark Schwarzer but returned off the post and falling to Grafite his effort then clearer off the line by Brede Hangeland who sealed the aggregate 3-1 win and booked a semi-final return to Germany to Face Hamburg.

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